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The Sword of Elendil
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Author's Notes

"Purists might wish for a corpus with fewer contradictions, a canon less amorphous—one that allows them to declare, without equivocation, 'Thus saith Tolkien.' Yet, perhaps the good professor did not intend it to be so....the mythologies of our ancestors are not received in tidy, set form. They are based on oral traditions that took on new flavor as they passed from bard to bard, hamlet to hamlet. Over time, stories changed to reflect the needs and challenges of their tellers. Tolkien knew this; perhaps his greatest gift to us lies in all those unfinished manuscripts, for what we have is a fictional legendry that truly resembles the myths of the real world. And perhaps the greatest tribute to his work is the humble fan's attempt to add her vision to that legendry, for by her efforts, Tolkien's dream of an enduring mythology proves not so fanciful after all."
—erunyauve (erunyauve at 2004

"The Sword of Elendil" is written in the spirit of the above quotation as the story of the young Aragorn finding his way in the world of the Dúnedain after his childhood in Rivendell. The story is for the most part book canon, with some specific exceptions. Generally the exceptions have to do with the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen, which is different enough to qualify as Alternate Universe. Canon purists will find this story a rampant violation of LACE. My apologies to those who might find this jarring.

My intention in "Sword" is to tell the story of Aragorn's coming of age—how he learns to deal with various conflicts and problems facing him as a young man of twenty who has just discovered his true destiny. The matter of Arwen is central to his emotional life, and so I have significantly increased the angst level of his feelings toward her.

Certain events are interpreted differently from the standard canon view. I have done this in the spirit of looking for the "real" story behind the official chronicles of the legend. For example, "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" was written after the death of both. Who is to say that the story as recorded was not adapted to the purpose of the historian? I am looking for the emotional truth of the story, rather than a rigid reading of the text.

The description of the Keep and how the Dúnedain organize their affairs, as well as all the characters beyond the few named in the canon, are entirely my invention, but do not contradict anything that Tolkien wrote, to my knowledge. I have named their Hidden Fortress "Thurnost"; it is located at the joining of the Hoarwell and Loudwater. In the portrayal of the life of the Northern Dúnedain I have been influenced by the many other writers who have written so imaginatively and beautifully about this obscure subject, in particular Anoriath, Gwynnyd, Meckinock and Dwimordene. We are all greatly in debt to Michael Martinez's research.

Most of the poems quoted in this story are the work of the great English poets. Please see the chapter notes for specific information.

My deepest gratitude to the many people who have helped me with this story: Oshun, Sulriel, Pen52, Greywing, Adaneth, DrummerWench, Meckinock, Gwynnyd, Lady Bluejay, and last but not least, Dwimordene, without whose browbeating and encouragement this tale would never have come into being.

Prologue: The Legend of Narsil

Tolkien tells us that Telchar the Dwarf smith made Narsil. Nothing is known of how it came to Elendil. I have invented what seems to me a probable backstory.

Chapter One: Arathorn's Son

Tolkien says in FotR ("Strider") that Narsil was broken a foot below the hilt. For the purposes of this story it is broken two feet below the hilt.

Tolkien does not say that Elrond took Gilraen and Aragorn to Rivendell against the will of the Dúnedain. But for any fanfic writer dealing with this part of Aragorn's life, there is an immediate problem of explaining how such a secret could be kept. This is my take on the matter.


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